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macro and black/dark background
Sometimes I see beautiful macro pictures of bugs and flowers with a dark/black background. How can this be achieved? I suppose there isn't a dark cardboard placed behind it. So what's the trick?.

Lee-Anne..

Comments (5)

Set camera to center metering, and find a way to illuminate the bug or whatever.

Then it will properly expose the bug but underexposes the background.

Then you can also tweak during post processes...

Comment #1

Personally, I find the dark/black backgrounds very unnatural looking, especially with flora..

The dark background is usually the result of using a macro flash (ring or twin lights), it also often occurs when using a regular flash for macro shots..

Especially when using larger sensors (as with dSLRs and medium format cameras), the depth of field is extremely shallow at high magnifications. In order to increase the DoF as much as possible, small apertures have to be used. Small apertures mean less light passes through the lens to the sensor, so often a flash must be used or the shutter speeds become too slow to handhold..

The inverse square law, which describes how light intensity varies with distance. says that if you double the distance of the light source to subject, then you get a quarter of the light. With very distant a light source, for example the sun, there is very little difference between the distance from the source to subject and the source to background (64 million miles for subject to source and 64 million + an inch or so for source to background). The difference in light intensity for sun lit scenes is negligible..

Macro flashes fit on the very front of the lens, so if the subject is say 2 inches from the lens and the background is 2 inches beyond that, then the background is twice as far from the light as the subject and only 1/4 of the light intensity (or two stops less light)..

You see the same effect when taking regular flash pictures in dim conditions. People near the flash are illuminated well, but those farther behind are under exposed..

Brian A...

Comment #2

Some examples using a regular flash unit (550ex) held close to the subjects:.

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Brian A...

Comment #3

Thank you both for your explanations. I had been wondering for a long time how it is done. Quite interesting actually. And Brian thanks for showing the pictures. Very nice.Lee-Anne..

Comment #4

LeeAnne_NL wrote:.

Sometimes I see beautiful macro pictures of bugs and flowers with adark/black background. How can this be achieved? I suppose thereisn't a dark cardboard placed behind it. So what's the trick?.

Actually, it's quite common to put a piece of black foam core (BFC) behind the subject. This technique has a name: BFC Isolation..

After taking the shot, you should select the black background and replace it with a uniform black color. I often use 20, 20, 20..

Other colors besides black can be used..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #5

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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